It’s not long now – Christmas is just around the corner.
The Christmas season is just around the corner. Our American friends have just celebrated ‘Thanksgiving’ (in case you hadn’t noticed the Black Friday Sales)?! And for many of us that means one thing…..
With pre-Christmas parties, office do’s, family gatherings, boxing day and finally New year celebrations, food plays a huge part in all of this! It’s that time of year when the supermarket aisles are filled and overflowing with delicious temptations, parties are brimming over with nibbles, alcohol and chocolate in abundance! We are virtually guaranteed to over-indulge and to eat things we wouldn’t normally eat.
What happens next? Well eating all those extra foods and overeating leads to weight gain.
So the question is….how do we avoid this predestined problem?
Better still, how do we stick to our ideal diet during all of this without gaining weight and even somehow manage to lose weight?
Did you know?
In a pound of body fat there are over 3500 calories.
What this means is that to gain a pound in weight, you’ve got to consume at least 3500 extra calories than your normal calorie intake!
It’s pretty impossible to consume that many extra calories (unless you went on a serious binge session), in fact no-one gains pounds of fat in one day , no matter how much chocolate or alcohol they consumed.
The real reason for Christmas weight gain
I’ve been reading up on this kind of thing for a while now and the evidence is there to show that whilst you can overeat one day and get on the scales the next day and it shows an increase in weight – it isn’t fat. So let’s take a look at what other reasons there are for this ‘weight gain’
• Eating extra portion sizes of food can sit in your stomach waiting to be digested – the volume of food might be higher than you’re normal intake and can add an extra 2-5 lbs in weight.
• There may be a temporary water retention from drinking excessive amounts of fluid or eating more carbohydrate foods than normal and even foods that are high in sodium (think of all those processed pre-made nibbles and their salt content).
• When you eat more carbs than usual, you will have higher amounts of glycogen circulating
One day of overeating isn’t going to cause weight gain but a whole season of overeating will!
It’s a build-up of extra calories being eaten throughout the Christmas period – gradually adding in more calories each day over the weeks before Christmas Day.
If you’re weight gain is significant in that period, then inactivity could also be part of the problem. Let’s face it – its cold out there, dismal weather sometimes and really not that encouraging to go outdoors and burn off some of those extra calories.
There’s also the mindset to consider in all of this. ‘I’ve already messed up on my diet or my healthy eating, so I might as well keep eating badly until the New year.’
So my advice for a low-weight gain Christmas is to stay active, walk outdoors (the cold helps with fat burning – known as thermogenesis), avoid all the pre-season temptations just like you would do normally each day or week when you are following a healthy eating plan. Reducing your intake of carbohydrates is important if you gain weight easily on high carb diets. But at the end of the day, Christmas is a time to enjoy eating, enjoy spending time with family and friends or having time off from work and busy schedules.
My suggestion is not to force yourself to be overly strict as then the whole mindset thing kicks in and you feel deprived or punished….leading to even bigger temptations and an ‘Oh well, its in for a penny in for a pound’ attitude. Being overly strict can ruin your enjoyment and you can end up being frustrated and annoyed with a) yourself and b) others around you!.
Here’s my checklist for avoiding Christmas weight gain:
- Relax around food
- Eat something you want to eat and be free of guilt
- Enjoy our time with family and friends
- Don’t worry or stress about overeating for just a few days
- Get back on track the next day
- Get outdoors – shiver in the cold (within reason to trigger thermogenesis) and keep active
Simple tips to help you avoid the weight gain BUT you need to know that one or two days over indulgence is ok, and for the other 360, you need to understand what foods are right for you, whether you need help to control inflammation, how much exercise you need to do, keep your insulin levels under control and recognising that some people may have a weaker control of their mindset when under the influence of sugar!
With all that in mind – have a Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year – enjoy your food and have fun!
That’s just what I’ll be doing and don’t forget to get back on track as soon as you can.
Click here to read about our 12 week weight loss coaching plans and how we can help you reduce weight, maintain weight and gain optimal health. You can book a free ‘Let’s Talk’ session to find out more – click here